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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Set a Color Label

Before You Begin

Rename a Folder or Document

Change an Icon

See Also

Find an Item

In Mac OS X Panther, you can assign different colored "labels" to documents and folders. The meanings of these labels are up to you to define—a blue label might mean "Incomplete projects" or "Items I haven't looked at yet," and red labels might signify "Documents from the Thompson account." Labels appear in the highlight color of an item's name, in an oval around the text. You can sort items in the Finder based on the label color, allowing you to group items conceptually without having to fiddle with their names or put them into folders.

Figure 3.6Figure 3.6

  1. Select the Item

  2. In a Finder window, select the item you want to label.

  3. Set the Label Color

  4. From the File menu or the Action button menu, choose the Color Label you want to use. Seven colors are available to choose from; click the appropriate colored dot. You can also set the label by right-clicking (or Control+clicking) the item and selecting the label color from the contextual menu.


    You can label multiple items at once. Select as many items as you want, using the Shift or Command key in conjunction with mouse clicks, and then set the label color.

  5. Sort by Label in Icon View

  6. In the Finder's Icon view, you can sort items by label color. After you have set different colored labels for several items within a folder, select View, View Options. In the View Options panel that opens, enable the Keep arranged by check box and select Label from the drop-down menu to group items by their assigned label colors.

  7. Sort by Label in List View

  8. You can also sort items by label colors in the Finder's List view. First make sure that the Label column is shown by opening the View Options panel (choose View, View Options) and enabling the Label check box. Then, in the Finder window, scroll to the far right of the window and click the Label column heading to sort the list based on the assigned colors.


    In Icon view, choose View, Arrange and then choose by Label to arrange the contents of a folder immediately into a well-organized grid sorted by the files' labels.


    You can also make use of color labels when finding files. In the Find dialog box, create a criterion based on the Label; you can then specify which color labels you want to look for or which ones you want to avoid (using the is not clause). Create as many of these criteria as necessary.

  9. View Sorted Results

  10. Although these examples are shown in black-and-white, the names of the label colors in the Finder's List view show how easily you can sort items in a folder based on label colors.

  11. Remove the Label

  12. To clear a label you don't need anymore, select the item with the colored label you want to remove. From the File menu or the Action button menu, click the X under the Color Label option to remove the color. You can also access the Color Label options by right-clicking (or Control+clicking) to open the contextual menu.

    You can assign special meanings to the various color labels. In the Finder Preferences window, click the Labels tab. Next to each color, type a new name for each label. For instance, you might make red signify "overdue" and yellow signify "in-progress" to help you keep track of documents you're working on over a long period of time.

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